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Crime & Courts

New prosecutor to handle Sycamore rape case

Special prosecutor Justin Fitzsimmons appears in Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom for his case against Ashley Zick, who was not required to be in court, Wednesday in Sycamore.  Fitzsimmons was relieved as special prosecutor on the case.
Special prosecutor Justin Fitzsimmons appears in Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom for his case against Ashley Zick, who was not required to be in court, Wednesday in Sycamore. Fitzsimmons was relieved as special prosecutor on the case.

SYCAMORE – A new special prosecutor will take over next week in the case against a Sycamore man accused of repeatedly raping a 19-year-old acquaintance with his fiancée.

Thomas A. Broughton, formerly of the 400 block of East State Street, was sentenced to two years in prison Dec. 28 in a separate case, for failing to register as a sex offender after a prior aggravated criminal sexual abuse conviction. Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert said Wednesday that Broughton is in the Boone County jail and soon will be taken to Statesville Correctional Center, where it will be determined where he’ll serve the rest of his sentence.

Broughton had been held in the DeKalb County Jail since January 2017 after being charged with sexual assault and unlawful restraint. Ashley N. Zick, Broughton’s fiancée, who gave birth to his child in the fall, faces the same charges.

Broughton pleaded guilty in 2012 to aggravated criminal sexual abuse for inappropriately touching a 5-year-old girl and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Justin Fitzsimmons had been assigned as special prosecutor for the rape case because DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato previously represented Broughton in the 2012 case.

Fitzsimmons’ motion to withdraw was granted Wednesday by Stuckert. Court records show he found out Dec. 7 he needs surgery, which is scheduled for Jan. 31 and will require about six weeks’ recovery time, records show. A new special prosecutor will be named in the case Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Broughton drove the 19-year-old victim to the couple’s Sycamore apartment and gave her alcohol. He and Zick then carried the woman to the bedroom and tied her hands and feet to the bed with straps. Both raped the woman multiple times despite her saying “stop” and “no,” according to court documents.

Broughton is represented by Bob Nolan, and Zick is represented by Public Defender Tom McCulloch, who said she was taken off electronic home monitoring Dec. 28 because she’d abided by all the rules. Court records show she’s had no EHM violations and was paid up on the nearly $2,000 she had to pay to wear the ankle bracelet.

“She performed well,” McCulloch said. “She’s been out. She’s had her baby. She’s working and holding down a job, at least as well as you can through temporary service agencies.”

With credit for time served, Broughton’s sentence was 331 days as of Dec. 28. McCulloch said Broughton being convicted and sentenced likely will delay the trial for the rape case. The change in lawyers doesn’t help, either.

“Changing lawyers always screws things up,” McCulloch said. “I know the special prosecutor we’ve had has been pretty thorough, in terms of getting stuff, and someday we’ll see those things. I don’t know whether that helps us or hurts us.”

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